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Recording Audio Books - the LibriVox Project

Do you like listening to audio books? Do you know you can volunteer to read and record chapters of books in the public domain?

Audio books are the recording of the contents of paperback books read aloud.  Books in the public domain means that these books are no longer under copyright. They are available for free on the internet.  Typically, books in the public domain were published before 1923.

The project, known as LibriVox, was started in August 2005 by Hugh McGuire, a Montreal based writer and web developer.  The objective is to make all books in the public domain available for free, in audio format on the internet.  LibriVox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project powered by volunteers only.

Anyone can become a volunteer for LibroVox.  You don’t need any prior experience of recording or acting, all you need is a computer and some free recording software.  LibriVox accept everyone who speaks different languages with different accents without audition.

The word LibriVox has several meanings.  In Latin, “Libri” means book and “Vox” means voice, so LibriVox can be interpreted as BookVoice.  Another Latin word for book is “Liber”, which means child / offspring or free, independent, unrestricted, so LibriVox can also be interpreted as Child of the Voice or Free Voice.  Some people also think LibriVox means Library of Voice.

You may wonder who would be interested in recording or listening to old books published decades ago?  Well, LibriVox has many popular classic fictions such as Pride and Prejudice, David Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities, Three Musketeers, Return of the Native, Les Miserables, Dracula and Ulysses.  Their collection also includes plays, poetry and religious text such as Shakespeare’s plays, Koran and the Bible.  You can make suggestion and start a recording of any books that are not under copyright.

Can you record the books for money?  The answer is “no”.  LibriVox won’t pay you money for recording the books no matter how good you think your recordings are.  LibriVox site is maintained by volunteers only and don’t accept paid advertising either.

So why would people participate in such a project if not for money? It is because it is fun.  If you like reading books aloud, even enjoy acting and letting other people listen to your recordings, you can go to LibriVox and record your own audio copy of your favourite classic novel.  If you love books and literature; or share the same ambition of LibriVox founder to have all books in public domain available as free audio books, go check out LibriVox, become a volunteer and have fun.